Does Leaving Outside Lights On Really Deter Burglars?

Have you had a worried parent, friend, or neighbor tell you to turn on your porch lights? It’s a fairly common home security tip that is passed around, but you may be wondering if leaving the outside lights on deters burglars

The truth is that it helps a small portion of potential burglaries, but overall, it’s not an effective method to rely on. It can be a useful strategy when you use them at the right time and use them in combination with a security system. Our team put together the following tips to best protect your home. 

When to Use The Lights

As we mentioned, there are good times to turn on your outside lights to alert anyone passing by your property that you are present. 

Turning on your outside lights is best in the following situations.

  • You’re at home at night. The combination of indoor and outdoor lighting will alert burglars that you are home, and if anyone approaches your door, you can more easily see them through a window or peephole. 
  • Children are home alone. This is for similar reasons as when you’re home at night, and it will help ease the kids’ nerves, so they don’t jump when they see strange shadows. 
  • Household members return late at night. If you, a roommate, a relative, or anyone else is planning to come to your home late at night, the porch light will ensure they get to the door and unlock it safely. 
  • Expecting a home delivery. Whether for a package or Uber Eats, porch lights help the delivery person find your home, and you’ll be reminded to bring in your package before you go to bed. 

The following situations are when it is best to turn your outside lights off. 

  • Going to bed. When it’s lights out for you, the same should be true for your porch lights because turning lights off regularly indicates that homeowners are present. 
  • On vacation. Leaving your lights on or off will not make a difference when you go out of town. The lights constantly staying on will indicate that you are not home and make the perfect opportunity for burglars. 
  • Live in a rural area. If you own a home in a secluded, rural area, the chances are you have a large property, and leaving a light on would only become a guide to burglars in the dead of night. 

home burglar

Combine Lights with Other Home Security Measures

The most important thing to remember is burglars are opportunistic, and burglaries happen in less than 12 minutes on average. The burglars stake out targets, assess the situation, and decide when it is best to take action. So, it’s good practice to have multiple deterrents to protect your home. 

Security Equipment

Smart lighting with a remote control or timers is the best way to use lighting as a deterrent because you can control at what time the lights are on and align the timing with your regular schedule. We also advise leaving the curtain and blinds closed to not give anyone an easy view into the activity of the home. 

Motion-activated lights are another way to use lighting as a deterrent. Motion sensor lighting will startle anyone who isn’t expecting a trigger, and some of them even come with a camera to record the activity happening around your home. 

Security cameras are an effective tool to deter burglars or record any break-ins that do happen. As experts in the field, we have discussed in previous blogs how to select a security camera, how many you may need, and how to maximize your security products. A doorbell camera can be very useful, as burglars will often know to check if someone is home. 

An alarm system is the form of security you need above all else. Even with all the other strategies listed above, an alarm system can ensure the proper authorities respond when a home invasion happens, and it limits the time a burglar may spend at your home. 

light on outside of a home

Non-Equipment Strategies

If you don’t want to rely solely on technology, there are some strategies that help you protect your home and which can be a deterrent for a burglar. 

Get a large dog that barks at intruders. You can train a dog to respond to intruders, and burglars reported that they would stay away from houses with a large dog that made a lot of noise. 

Get to know your neighbors. Not only it is nice to make connections, but you can also let your neighbors know to be on the lookout for activity while you’re away on vacation or to confirm any activity that a smart home security system may notify you of. 

Establish a neighborhood watch. If break-ins are occurring often in your neighborhood, you can help organize watch parties. The activity of witnesses roaming around will act as a deterrent for not only your home but your neighbors as well. 

A Safer Tomorrow Starts Here

Does leaving outside lights on deter burglars? In short, no, it’s not an effective strategy alone to deter a burglar from targeting your property. However, in combination with security systems and other tactics, you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighborhood. 

If you want to secure your home, Mesa Alarms can customize a security system that addresses your areas of concern. We have been in the business of protecting Houston homes for over 30 years, and we intend to solve your everyday needs. Contact us today to secure a safer tomorrow!